Institute for Social and Economic Change
Working Paper: 471
The Nation and Its Historical Mediations:
Towards Typologies of Regions/States
Anil Kumar Vaddiraju
Societies are a product of the diverse mediations that they go through in time. These mediations are not the same for every society. The concrete historical events and processes that are mediated over time determine the substance and form of a society. The West as we know it today has undergone definite economic, social, political and cultural mediations in its history. Consequently, it is today a product of these mediations. The developing /third world countries on the other hand have gone through their own events and processes in history. And their historical trajectory therefore determines their present condition. This trajectory, however, is not uniform for all societies. It is definitely specific to each society. The specificity of concrete historical mediations therefore determines what type of society has resulted from them. This is true even of different types of capitalism that evolve in different societal contexts. The theory of historical mediationism therefore directs us to look more and more for concrete historical events and processes that shaped the history of a place rather than rely on one broad general supra-historical theory that suits all places and all times. Historical mediationism therefore focuses on two aspects: The concrete historical processes that shaped a society and the diversity or similarity of the same between different societies. While this theory shifts the balance from a supra-historical theory of studying and understanding concrete history, it neither rejects nor strictly follows Marx. What is stressed therefore is historical specificity and diversity. In sum, this theory says that there is no reason to steamroll historical diversity to suit one particular straight jacket of a theory.